15-Oct-2009 -- A Stop-over hunt
I have a 6 hour stop-over in Vienna airport for a connection from Geneva to Beijing – a hunt for a nearby Confluence point just the right thing to do. This particular point is about 39 km GPS distance southeast from the airport. The actual driving tuned out to be about 75 km one way.
Picking up a rental car was straight forward and I was out of the airport in 30 minutes. The only catch was that this was the day when the first winter storm hit Central Europe and it was snowing with gusty wind, and I was not dressed for the occasion.
The expressway took me within 10 km from the Confluence Point before switching to the charming and tranquil country road. I reached a small town called Altenmarkt an der Triesting which was about 2 km from the point except there was a sizable range in between.
According to the Google map that next town further east, Thenneburg, there is suppose a trail which can go very near the Confluence Point. After five attempts ending up either in dead ends or someone’s barn yard, I gave up on looking for this elusive trail. I turned back and see if I can find a way from the other side of the small mountain range. At which point I have less than 3 hours before my flight taking off – a bit of pressure building up.
Alas, I found a small road parallel the highway going west and came to a clear area about 1.8 km from the point and decided to go on foot. This turn out to be the right jumping off point. From this location, there is a dirt trail went straight up the ridge and brought me within 30 meters to the Confluence point within 20 minutes. Even though it was snowing with strong wind, the rapid up hill hike worked up a good sweat.
The return trip to Vienna airport was uneventful – 10 mins downhill run to reach the car, and 40 minutes of mostly expressway drive and I made it back to airport with enough time to spare for a beer to celebrate the hunt in the cold wind.
Lesson learned from this hunt – better to use the GPS and my own hunting instinct than relying on the Google map. I was so focused on finding the route on the map and fail to consider a more sensible alternative. In a way, without the detailed map, the hunt is more fun.
Rating of this hunt:
Degree of Challenge:
2 – Finding the trail head was a bit trying (1= very easy - drive to the point; to 5= a death march – glad it is over)
4– Rolling hills with quint villages and historical buildings dotting the areas - remind me of “Sound of Music” (Scale: 1= not interesting at all; 5= take your breath away)
3 – Pleasant Austria country side with no time to appreciate or stop in one of the many pubs passed (Scale: 1=dull; 5= most stimulating)